Govt appeals for $300m to avert hunger

via Govt appeals for $300m to avert hunger – New Zimbabwe 15/06/2015

THE cash-strapped government has appealed to development partners for some $300 million to avert starvation in the country after the staple maize harvest collapsed by about 50 percent this year.

The appeal was issued by Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday at an event to launch the Zimbabwe Zero Hunger Strategic Review Report.

“Approximately $300 million is required to import food to cover the deficit and see us through to the next harvest, hoping that it will be significantly better than the current one,” said Mnangagwa.

“While we need 1,4 million tonnes of maize a year for consumption, our produce for the 2014-15 season has gone down by approximately 49 percent.

“I am therefore calling upon all our partners, from development agencies and the private sector, to assist us in providing the necessary resources to ensure that none of the communities nationwide is exposed to hunger and starvation.”

President Robert Mugabe has since vowed no one would starve but did not say where his financially crippled government would find the money for grain imports.

The poor harvest means Zimbabwe will need to import about half the maize it requires in 2015, at a time when harvests in neighbouring South Africa and Zambia, its regular source of imports, are also falling.

Small-scale farmers – including beneficiaries of the country’s land redistribution programme, which saw land seized from white farmers – contributed 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s total maize production during the 2013-14 growing season.

Joseph Made, the country’s agriculture minister, blames the declining harvests on climatic shifts that have cut rainfall to the country’s rain-fed fields.

Declining government support is also playing a role, however.

During the 2013-14 growing season, the government pumped $161 million in free maize seed and fertilizer into 1.6 million household farms, according to Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

But Zimbabwe’s 2014 agriculture ministry budget has fallen by more than half, from $390 million in 2013 to $174 million in 2014, Chinamasa said.

That has resulted in less money to support small-scale farmers this season, Chinamasa said. He accused banks of being reluctant to step in and offer cheap loans to farmers to help make up the shortfall.

However, many resettled farmers in Zimbabwe do not have title to their land, which prevents them from accessing bank loans, experts said.


  • comment-avatar

    If we forget for a moment that Mugabe’s disastrous handling of the economy and the land reform program opened o Pandora’s box of problems that only seem to get worse; then in the short term the country needs $300M this year, to avoid starvation for a significant percentage of the population.
    When he travels, on each trip he takes $600,000 cash to spend (or not) as he wishes. He never accounts for it afterward and the balance is never returned to treasury. On each of his trips, he takes a large retinue of boot lickers and security personnel. Each of them draws a very generous per-diem. There’s also the cost of chartering an Air Zimbabwe plane with full crew and jet fuel for a round trip flight, as well as landing fees at each end and parking fees for the jetliner while Mugabe sleeps at all of these events. It’s been estimated that the operational costs for each trip range from $1.5-$2M. When Mugabe’s cash allowance is added in, his trips are costing $2.1-2.6M each. Since it’s only June and he’s taken 15 trips already, it’s safe to say that he will probably take at least 30 trips in 2015. That means that his foreign travel is costing the country $63-78M – or put differently, 20-25% of the country’s maize shortfall is directly caused by Mugabe himself. Can he point to a single benefit to the country from any of his trips? No, there is none. Travel for him is purely about his own vanity and his political survival and does nothing to avert hunger.

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    Muchamama 7 years ago

    We need 1.4 million hectares, money was injected into 1.6 million households. Logic says that if each family had produced 1 tonne each we would be having 1.6 million tonnes of maize. It buggles the mind that the goivernment gives these people money and they can not even produce a tonne of maize, kwakuti Made akakwana. Something is awfully wrong with him or the statistics should be wrong!!!

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    So, when even the VP is begging for a plate of sadza from outside, then let the last zimbo switch off the light before he/she goes where ever!

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    Mlimo 7 years ago

    Well he has just told the west he doesn’t need the ICC who incidentally pays more than half the AU budget . So as a westerner I would ask to stop supporting the AU and Mugabe. Let them stew in their own juices.

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    maverickzw 7 years ago

    The continued audacity of Zanupf knows no bounds. With one breath they plead for assistance because the people are starving. This from conditions that they have brought upon themselves. In the meantime as someone else has pointed Mugabe still emulates Marco Polo for his continual jaunts at Zimbabwes expense. In the meantime he and his fellow chefs have undoubtedly salted away more than enough to meet this need. Any Government or aid agency even considering assisting Zimbabwe should in the first instance look to Zanupf party members and their hangers on to fund this need. Why should Taxpayers in foreign countries, the generosity of foreign Governments and donors subsidise the illicit gains of these people. Where has all the income from the sale of diamonds gone?
    Mugabe and Zanupf do not care about the suffering of their own people so why should anyone else. I understand that the real suffering will be those people who are most in need but it is about time that they stopped asking the West and started asking questions of those in power.
    At the same time Mugabe continues to castigate the west about”sanctions” when the ability to correct the situation lies entirely with himself.
    By the way one cynical reason for Mugabes unlimited travel is that he can no longer handle the problems of Zimbabwe and by travelling he does not need to take any action. In short he is running from the problems he has created! He has dug a hole so deep he can not see a way out.